As part of International Women’s Day, staff and students from Pembrokeshire College celebrated not only the success of female staff and students but also the importance of gender parity and the role that the College plays in pursuing this.
Celebrated on March 8th, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. To celebrate the day Pembrokeshire College was joined by successful women from politics, engineering, retail and the creative industries to inspire students, both male and female, to aspire to be their best, push boundaries and to tackle head on the issue of gender parity.
In tackling gender equality, students first spoke about their experiences in studying programmes that are stereotypically undertaken by the opposite sex. Luke Howard spoke about being a male in childcare and the obstacles as well as the opportunities that this had presented while Leah Brenchley and Hermione Ekkes spoke about their experiences being the only girls on the Level 1 Electrical installation course.
This was followed by questions directed at a panel of successful women from across industry including: Helen Mary Jones AM; Maria Pena, Managing Director of Dragon LNG; Sara Bruce-Goodwin, former Director of KFC and Starbucks; and Dawn Lyle, Director of iCREATE. Questions from the audience were diverse and ranged from ‘who inspired you’, to how to tackle the issue of trolling, whether large corporations should be punished if they fail to tackle gender equality and what can the UK and Welsh Government do to promote equal opportunities.
Celebrated now for well over a century, Helen Mary Jones AM highlighted how far the UK has come in recognising and celebrating International Women’s Day but there is still a long way to go to achieve gender parity. With the 2019 theme being #BalanceforBetter, the panel were united in their view that the strongest, most productive and most creative teams are those that are diverse – not only in terms of gender but also in terms of backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.
Curriculum Area Manager for A-levels, Lisa O’Connor organised the day as part of the Disglair+ initiative and commented: “We were thrilled to have such successful businesswomen join us for International Women’s Day and to have such a diverse audience really highlighted this year’s key message that ‘Balance is Better’.
“The College can play a key role in tackling gender stereotypes and it is important that everyone is given the opportunity to follow the career path of their choice regardless of their gender. Hopefully today will have shown our learners that with hard work and determination anything is possible.”